The Honda Civic sedan and CR-V SUV have been axed from the Japanese automaker’s India portfolio following the company’s decision to cease manufacturing operations at its Greater Noida plant. Both models were assembled at the Uttar Pradesh plant from CKD (completely knocked down) kits, alongside the popular City sedan, which was produced there.
Slow-selling Honda Civic and CR-V axed
The City now tops off Honda’s India portfolio
Honda’s complete manufacturing operations moved exclusively to Tapukara plant
Honda has shifted the production of the City to its Tapukara, Rajasthan facility, but the factory can only accommodate manufacturing of vehicles of a certain size, which has led to the discontinuation of the company’s flagship sedan and SUV in our market. The Rajasthan plant also serves as the manufacturing base of the Amaze, Jazz and WR-V.
Following its latest move, Honda has assured that it will continue fulfilling the service and spare part requirements of its existing Civic and CR-V customers over a period of 15 years.
Why did Honda Civic and CR-V get discontinued?
Honda has sold 45,690 vehicles in the April-November period of FY2021, of which the Civic and CR-V account for just 850 units and 104 units, respectively. While the impact of COVID-19 cannot be ignored, both vehicles have been slow-sellers for the brand long before the pandemic.
Launched at Rs 17.70-22.30 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the current-gen Civic was overpriced, with only the more powerful and better-equipped Skoda Octavia being positioned a bit higher. Similarly, at Rs 28.15-32.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the latest CR-V fell on the pricey side of the segment it was competing in. That Honda had overplayed its hand on the price front was evident by the fact that both models were on offer with significant discounts at the dealer level, month after month.
Another chink in their armour was the engine line-up. Not only did the powertrains lack outright punch, there were some crucial omissions like the lack of petrol-manual and diesel-automatic options for the Civic. Moreover, despite the premium positioning, the company missed bringing in more powerful engine options available abroad.
High prices, a misjudged powertrain strategy and a clear lack of focus from Honda, then, kept the Civic and CR-V from gaining real traction in the market, with the ongoing economic crisis being the last straw.
Honda’s decision to draw the curtains on its flagship models, while rethinking its manufacturing operations, is aimed at improving operating efficiencies and safeguarding its future in India.
The company has stated that it is planning a long-term presence in our market and that its latest move hasn’t curtailed any future product investment plans.
The Greater Noida plant had been operational since 1997 and had an annual capacity of 1,00,000 units. By shifting all manufacturing operations to Rajasthan, Honda is now hoping that domestic and export demand help it achieve better utilisation of the 1,80,000 unit annual capacity Tapukara plant that went online in 2014.
Honda Civic in India: A brief history
Honda debuted the Civic moniker in India with the eighth-gen model in 2006. The sedan was sold with a 1.8-litre petrol engine, paired to a manual or a torque converter automatic transmission. There was also a hybrid on offer with a 1.3-litre petrol mill and CVT gearbox. Suffering from the lack of an oil burner in a market that was fast moving towards diesels at the time, Honda India discontinued the Civic in 2012.
Tenth-gen Civic was launched at Rs 17.70-22.30 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
After a long hiatus, the Civic made its return to our market in March 2019. The facelifted, tenth-gen model was introduced with an upgraded 1.8-litre petrol engine mated to a CVT gearbox, and a 1.6-litre diesel engine paired to a manual transmission.
Interestingly, while the current-gen petrol Civic saw an uninterrupted run till the recent announcement, the diesel model was discontinued for a short period till a BS6 version was available in July 2020. This highlights a fairly swift change in the company's positioning on the Civic, with the vehicle being axed altogether just a few months after.
Honda’s decision to pull the plug on the model in India also comes at a time when it is gearing up for the 2021 debut of the eleventh-gen Civic for international markets.
As such, the Hyundai Elantra has the whole executive sedan segment to itself in India, till the new Skoda Octavia arrives next year.
Honda CR-V in India: A brief history
In 2004, Honda added the second-gen CR-V to its India portfolio. The SUV was sold in our market for two generations as a full import, until the fourth-gen model was launched via the CKD route in 2013.
Fifth-gen CR-V was launched at Rs 28.15-32.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
Five years later, Honda brought the fifth-gen CR-V to our country. While previous iterations were sold here with just 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre petrol engines, the latest version of the SUV marked the debut of a 1.6-litre diesel motor (which, ironically, was discontinued with the switch to BS6 earlier this year). Also on offer was the 2.0-litre petrol mill.
The CR-V went up against the likes of Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, Hyundai Tucson and Jeep Compass in our market. As with the Civic, there's an updated version of the CR-V that's already been revealed for international markets.
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